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Sunday, January 9, 2011

put this on your pork & smoke it

Well, another Christmas party has come and gone. We don't have a lot of new recipes because (1) we wanted to make sure the food was great, so we went with some old favorties, and (2) we were too rushed to write down what we were doing. (My last exam was on the 21st, and the party was on the 23rd.)

But, rushed as were were to get everything out on time, it was a great party, and the food was excellent. Lots of recipes are already on the blog. We served peanut butter balls, white chocolate-cranberry cookies, boiled shrimp with my cocktail sauce, mushrooms stuffed with duck sausage, and cured salmon.

There were quesadillas filled with the stuffing from our sausage & smoked gouda poppers. The corn, crab, & brie dip was, as always, a hit. We filled phyllo cups with mashed sweet potatoes and topped them with candied bacon.

There were little bowls of roasted walnuts scattered throughout the house for easy snacking. Kaytie made a punch with citron vodka, creme de cassis, pomegranate juice, and prosecco. We always serve mulled wine, and of course, we served med-rare venison tenderloin slices on toast with gorgonzola-horseradish butter. (It's one of the party standards.)

My favorite thing this year was an open-faced Cuban-inspired sandwich. Smoked pork, garlic aioli, and homemade pickles on toast, topped with dill Havarti cheese.

That pork was damn fine, if I do say so myself. It tasted even better than it looked. Here's the rub I used:

Garlic Pork Rub

5 dried chipotle peppers
1 dried habanero (dump the seeds out)
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 Tbs cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 Tbs coriander seeds
1/4 tsp white peppercorns
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 Tbs paprika
2 Tbs onion powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
8-10 garlic cloves, diced ultra-fine

I have a reformed coffee grinder that we use to grind dried peppers, seeds, and peppercorns. If you're a traditionalist, I suppose you can use an old-fashioned mortar and pestle. Either way, once you get everything ground down to a powder, the instructions are pretty simple: mix everything together.

Rinse your pork shoulder, and pat it dry. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork. I usually put it on a rack over a baking sheet so I can pick up any rub that falls off and rub it back on the meat. (Tip - if you wear rubber gloves, less rub will stick to your fingers. Plus, once you take the gloves off, you can rub your eyes or pick your nose without fear of pepper residue under your fingernails.)

I smoked the pork, but you could definitely roast it in the oven. I'm not going to get into specifics of cooking it because I haven't made careful enough notes about time & heat, but you can get good information from a google search. I will tell you that I normally cook a pork shoulder to an internal temperature of 150-155 degrees, which is lower than many sites will recommend. Use your own discretion.